Today I decided it was about time to address one of the most common questions I get: "What are the foods that burn fat?" I'll start with the question that I usually send in turn: "What exactly do you mean by" foods that burn fat "?"
We shouldn’t forget that "burning" fat is a complex biochemical process taking place in the body and its activation is impossible without a calorie deficit and regular physical activity!
It is absurd to talk about the existence of foods that "burn" excess fat, and their consumption alone is enough to part with them. It would be too good to be true!
There is one truth and it is that there are no foods that burn fat. There are only foods with a high thermic effect, and thanks to them, we burn slightly more calories during the digestive process.
Thermogenesis and thermic effect of food (TEF)
“Thermal effect of food” is actually the calories that are spent on the very digestion and absorption by the body. It represents 10% to 15% of total daily energy expense.
In this sense, what we can say for certain food with high thermal effect is that they play a key role in speeding up the metabolism and therefore may contribute to the loss of excess fat.
Perhaps many of you have already read or heard about some of them, the most popular are undeniably hot peppers (like "Cayenne" or cayenne pepper) and green tea.
Often they are referred to as "magical foods, fat burning" and this is quite understandable if you are skeptic about them.
Having made it clear that in fact we talk about foods with higher thermic effect we can realistically look at them and see how and to what extent they can speed up metabolism. You might be surprised, but behind the "miracle" food stand numerous studies and scientific facts.
Take for example cayenne pepper. Its higher thermal effect is due to a substance called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the reason for the acrid taste of cayenne pepper. Capsaicin has repeatedly been the subject of research, the benefits of its intake associated with lower levels of bad cholesterol and boosted immunity.
As for the thermal effect, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that one portion of chilly increases metabolism with only 21 calories.
Green tea itself is doing quite well, a number of scientific studies show that its intake increases overall energy consumption for the day.
According to research conducted by Dr. Abdul G. Dulo and his colleagues from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, green tea increases the metabolic rate and beta-oxidation (fat burning). Participants in the experiment taking green tea extract, burned additional 800 kJ (191 kcal) per day
The drink owes its fame to the compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). The minimum amount you need to supply from it to have an effect is 270-300 mg daily. For this purpose, you need to drink 4-10 cups of green tea (depending on the quality and content of polyphenols) or take the appropriate amount of green tea extract.
As we can see, according to the studies, higher thermic effect of these foods is real, because of this, they’re often called "miracle" food and superfoods. In this category are also apple cider vinegar, mustard, citrus fruits, Paullinia cupana, garlic, soy, ginger, cinnamon, forskolin and others. We can’t help but notice, however, that this effect is small and fleeting, and certainly insufficient to allow meaningful impact on fat loss in the long run.
In fact, there are foods with much higher thermogenic effect, and the mentioned so far can be a great addition to them!
Maximum benefit from the thermogenic effect of food. How?
The highest thermic effect have foods that are full of protein, especially these: chicken and turkey breasts, game and beef, lean red meat such as fillet, nearly all fish and seafood, whites or whole eggs. The more clean (less fat) are foods rich in protein, the more energy is consumed during the digestion and absorption by the body.
Approximately 30% of the calories contained in the protein are burned during digestion. Let's say for example that you prepare a delicious dinner and the main dish is turkey breast. If the energy value is 300 kcal, 90 of them will be spent on digestion. In addition to speeding up metabolism, foods rich in protein, have a unique capacity to suppress appetite, lowering levels of the hunger hormone - ghrelin.
Therefore I always recommend to people I work with to include protein in every meal.
This does not mean that you should start eating only foods rich in protein and ignore the other macronutrients.
I've always had the opinion that any diet that restricts any of the essential nutrients is unacceptable to me.
What you can do to make the most of good thermic effect of food is to compile a complete and balanced diet. You must combine lean protein with high thermal effect with plenty of green vegetables and unrefined starchy carbohydrates should not be absent and unsaturated fats that lower cholesterol. That will "unlock" your metabolism and reprogram the way in which forests calories.
How to prepare a "fat burning" menu?
#1. Get enough fiber
Choose green vegetables rich in fiber, such as lettuce, cucumber, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. You can eat them like a salad as a side dish to the main meal. Note that the body consumes more calories for the absorption of vegetables when they are raw. If their consumption is impossible without heat treatment, select the friendliest way of cooking, such as a slight stewing.
#2. Optimize protein intake
Time to add proteins. As I mentioned, they need to be as leaner as possible, for this purpose select one of the above options.
#3. Be smart with carbohydrates
Protein and fiber are the main characters in your dish, now you need to add natural complex (starch) carbohydrates and cereals such as oats, brown rice, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, buckwheat, quinoa and others.
Remember, carbohydrate intake and overall calorie intake should be consistent with your energy needs.
Calories you take should always be less than those who burn. (Caloric deficit)
As I mentioned, the two foundations you must follow to part as quickly as possible and forever with excess fat are caloric deficit and regular exercise.
Unfortunately, there are no "magic foods" that are able to effectively and permanently solve the problem with our stubborn fat while we rest on the couch watching TV, but the thermal effect of food can also be your valuable ally and helper.